Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a seven-day pause to reopening from the state’s pandemic lock downs Thursday after the highest single-day count of confirmed coronavirus cases.
The announcement came as the Oregon Health Authority confirmed 178 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, the highest daily count in the state since the start of the pandemic, and applies to the entire state, local TV station KTVZ reported.
Brown, in a prepared statement, described the temporary measure as a “yellow light,” saying that it would remain in place for seven days.
“This one-week pause will give public health experts time to assess what factors are driving the spread of the virus and determine if we need to adjust our approach to reopening,” she said.
Officials have attributed some of the additional cases to the widespread availability of testing, increased contact tracing, active monitoring of cases and recent workplace outbreaks, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Areas in the state that have had their applications to reopen put on hold include Multnomah County, which includes Portland, Hood River County, Marion County and Polk County.
“As we expected, the number of cases [is] going up,” OHA Director Patrick Allen said in a news conference Thursday. “The question has always been, can we manage in a way that doesn’t prevent the cases from going up but prevents it from overwhelming our systems.”
The holds come amid large protests that have occurred throughout much of the state. Allen issued a reminder Thursday urging Oregonians to continue to social distance, wash their hands adequately and wear a mask when out in public.
While Oregon is not the only state to report an increase in confirmed coronavirus cases, its decision to temporarily pause its reopening stands in contrast to other states, including Texas, Florida, and Arizona.